Two-thirds of the 2016-17 high school sports season is complete, and that means the annual Carroll Cup competition is nearing its end.
It looks like the spring will be an exciting race to determine this year's winner — Century, Westminster, and Liberty have separated themselves from the county title, with the Knights and Owls tied atop the standings after a solid winter campaign.
The Cup, awarded by the Carroll County Times to the school that accumulates the most points based on regular-season standings in each sport, has been in Liberty's possession for two years. The Lions held the lead after the fall, but fell to second behind Century and Westminster.
Points are given based on order of finish in the standings, with six for first place, five for second, in descending order (ties are broken, if possible, based on head-to-head results). Bonus points are awarded for any regional or state championships won.
The Knights, backed by county titles in boys basketball and boys indoor track, tallied 24 points in the winter and have 54 points after two seasons. The Owls didn't claim any county crowns, but they rallied three second-place finishes and two third for 22 points and a share of first overall with 54.
Liberty slipped a bit this winter, after posting 35 points in the fall. The Lions collected 12.5 points and have 47.5 heading into the spring.
Winters Mill is next in the overall standings with 34 points, followed by Manchester Valley (33.5), South Carroll (33), and Francis Scott Key (15).
Man Valley won a county title in girls basketball, while the Cavaliers claimed titles in wrestling and girls indoor track. Century added three bonus points this winter — one for a regional crown in boys basketball, and two more for region and state titles in boys indoor track.
The Knights won the Class 2A West championship behind senior guard Zach Tucker, the Times Boys Basketball Player of the Year, and his county-best 24.2 points per game. Century finished 23-3 and won 21 consecutive games, a program record, to reach the 2A state final.
Century's boys indoor track team had finished second at the 2A state meet for three years running before snapping that streak and claiming its third state meet in seven seasons. The Knights, led by pole vault state champ and Times Boys Indoor Track Athlete of the Year Zach Bryant, preceded that with their seventh consecutive county meet crown, and second 2A West meet title in as many years.
Westminster finished second in boys and girls basketball, tied for second in wrestling (with Century and WM), and took third at the county indoor track meet for boys and girls.
The Carroll Cup is in its 11th year, and only three county schools have won in that span.
Century won the first Cup in 2007, followed by back-to-back victories from North Carroll. The Knights reclaimed their chalice in 2010 and reeled off five straight wins until Liberty ended their run in 2015. The Lions repeated as Cup champs last year.
Carroll Cup standings
Latest Carroll County High School Sports
Francis Scott Key;6;9;15